Page last updated at 20:14 GMT, Saturday, 16 January 2010

Gerry Adams "unaware" brother Liam rejoined Sinn Fein

Liam Adams
The Sinn Fein president's brother Liam Adams is facing sex abuse allegations

Gerry Adams has defended himself after it emerged his brother Liam, was in a Sinn Fein branch in west Belfast three years after he told him to quit.

Liam Adams, who faces allegations that he abused his daughter, was forced from the party in County Louth in 1997.

But it has emerged he held a number of positions elsewhere after 2000.

"I got my brother Liam to leave Sinn Fein in County Louth. He later, unbeknownst to me, rejoined the party in west Belfast," Gerry Adams said.

"Had I known that that was the case, I obviously would have went to get him to leave the party again."

Mr Adams said that he did not know every Sinn Fein member in west Belfast.

"I'm also a very busy activist. A lot of this happened at a time of intense, hyper activity," he said.

"But I didn't know. That's it. People will make up their own mind on that and decide on their own position."

Gerry Adams said he only found out on Thursday that his brother had re-involved himself with the party.

Statement

The Sinn Fein president, who has been under pressure to explain Liam Adam's role in the party since the allegations arose, insisted that there had been "no cover up" by either him or Sinn Fein.

In a statement on Friday, Sinn Fein said that in the aftermath of the revelations it had held discussions and reviewed its available documentation in a bid to establish the extent of Liam Adams' involvement in the party.

It said the process had taken a number of weeks but added that information from a period in the 1990s was "not complete".

"We have established that Louth Sinn Fein and the national party leadership, apart from Gerry Adams, was unaware of the allegation against Liam Adams," the statement said.

Mr Adams has previously confirmed that he found out in 1987 about allegations made by his niece that she had been sexually abused by Liam Adams while she was a young child.

Sinn Fein said that when their president "moved to ensure that Liam Adams did not go forward as an election candidate" in County Louth in 1997, he did so "without involving the party locally or nationally".

Warrant

"After this time Liam Adams continued to mix in republican circles and attend some republican events," the party added.

It explained that for a number of years starting in 2000, Liam Adams had "involved himself in localised party work in Belfast".

During this period he became chair of a Sinn Fein branch in the heart of his brother's west Belfast constituency and that the local organisation was unaware of any allegations against him.

During the years 1998 to 2006, Liam Adams held various positions as a youth worker in a number of organisations in west Belfast.

Last month, he handed himself in to Irish police in the Republic of Ireland but they could not detain him because they did not have the necessary European arrest warrant.

The warrant is expected to be ready this month.



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